The United States and Mexico have reached an agreement for a partial closure of the border, according to Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
President Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the deal at a White House briefing Friday afternoon.
“We are not talking about a closure of the border with the U.S. because it is not that,” Ebrard said early Friday. “It will be restricted; it will be restricted for cases that are related to tourism and recreation.”
Ebrard added that Mexico would continue accepting asylum seekers sent back under the Migrant Protection Protocols, along with Mexican deportees. But it would not allow the United States to return all migrants who cross the border illegally to Mexican territory, as the Trump Administration proposed earlier this week. He insisted the measures would not restrict any economic activity and would “reduce the risk of the virus’s spread.”
Ebrard suggested that the agreement was in Mexico’s best interest, given that the country has fewer cases than the United States.
“For example in El Paso there are more cases than in Ciudad Juárez, so we must be careful; we must have better coordination on health issues,” Ebrard said.
It remains unclear how the two countries will determine which travelers to stop at the border. Roughly one million people cross legally between the countries every day. Ebrard said more details would be provided on Friday afternoon.